The Brexit Health Alliance (BHA) has welcomed the agreement on the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU).
The Alliance said it is pleased that under the deal there would be no tariffs on goods and those licensed before the transition period will continue to be circulated in the EU.
It also voiced support for the guarantee that existing rights of UK and EU citizens will be upheld, and that, in future, the system will include “appropriate arrangements for reciprocal professional qualifications”.
Continued data sharing during the transition period and plans fro an agreement on this by the end of it, as well as the political declaration on continued co-operation on health security, were also highlighted as positives.
“If this were delivered – and that is a big if – it would remove the uncertainty of a no deal and all the risks that would have for patients in the UK and indeed in Europe,” said Niall Dickson, the co-chair of the Alliance. “It would mean that industry and the NHS can be confident that the supply of medicines and other vital supplies will not be disrupted from March next year.”
However, he also stressed: “This would only be the start of the process - apart from the obvious uncertainty as to whether it will be approved by the UK and EU Parliaments, the detailed nature of the long-term relationship still needs to be decided.
“For now, like many others, we remain deeply concerned about the prospect of ‘no deal’ and we will continue to support the healthcare sector as it prepares to do everything possible to protect patients should a deal not be reached.”
The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) also welcomed the withdrawal agreement as “an important step towards securing a Brexit deal”.
“Agreeing a transition period will mean that our members can continue to supply medicines to patients without delay or disruption come March 2019,” said the Association’s chief executive Mike Thompson.
“There’s much to build on. But there’s more work to be done. We are committed to working with the UK and the EU so that close cooperation on scientific research and medicines regulation are central to a future partnership agreement for the benefit of all."